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[4e Rules Discussion] Rolling to Hit: Why?

LegionnairedLegionnaired Registered User
edited June 2008 in Critical Failures
D&D has always involved a roll to hit - and tradition has always placed the success of such a roll at somewhere close to 50% percent - perhaps approaching the 75% mark for characters who were especially focused on combat.

With the newer rules and focus on special abilities and state-effects during combat, getting those blows to land has become of paramount importance. Yet, the balance point of the to-hit roll has stayed stagnant. Players still have roughly a 50% chance to hit every level, for every attack.

Forgive the comparison, but consider World of Warcraft. At any level in the game - missing is rare, and you can basically assume that when you use an ability, you hit. You hope for a critical and when it happens its a thrill, but rarely if ever do you miss. Because of that, even when you're in a glut of bad luck, you're not likely to be totally ineffective.

With 4e moving in a similar direction of power-based, high energy, high tempo combat - I have to wonder: why not convert to a similar model?

Why have players hoping for a hit and fearing a miss? In dice/gambling games, the hope is for a big win (critical), and the chance of failure is apparently diminished. Players salivate over the effects of the critical, but can 'settle' for the hit. A miss is a crushing blow, but happens so infrequently as not to discourage the player from continuing.

What would happen if the following changes occurred? :

* You no longer add a flat 10 to defenses. You instead add 3. An untrained character attacking an unarmored object has a 15% chance of missing - which sounds about right.
* For every 10 by which you beat the Defense, you add an extra 1d6 damage.
* Hit points increase accordingly. Probably by a factor of 2, give or take.
* Some powers need changed. Reaping strike suddenly becomes useless, for instance.

The result might very well be much more consistent game-play, with much less disappointed players.

Anyone want to do a trial run of this over maptool sometime?

Legionnaired on


  • UtsanomikoUtsanomiko Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I would think that it's because the dredgery of trying to hit with damage is less than the dredgery of whittling down hitpoints. It's more to keep track of and it's harder on the DM to describe the abstractness of whittling away one's health bit by bit from weapon strikes (already an inherent problem of hitpoint systems alleviated by reducing the size of HP pools).

    Computer adventure RPG/dungeaon-crawlers get away with it because the math is being swiftly processed behind the scenes while the player is given much more direct and visual cues of the 'damage' being dealt.

    Utsanomiko on
  • InquisitorInquisitor Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Roughly a 50% chance to hit?

    Not really. You're forgetting to factor in magic items and abilities that buff your to hit and lower your enemies defense, along with things like flanking or other abilities.

    At first level my fighter has rolled with +11 to his attack. That's far better than a 50% chance to hit the AC of most enemies. With a warlord giving me a buff I could have been at a +16 to hit, at first level. That will hit the AC of some enemies on a roll of a 2.

    Inquisitor on
  • oakloreoaklore Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    You do realize that in most MMOs and RPGs there is a behind the scenes percentage to hit, for crits, dodges, etc etc, right?

    oaklore on
  • Archr5Archr5 Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Also, with spending action points, and some of the daily/encounter powers they have an effect even if they miss. So even the 50% miss factor is skewed in the players favor.

    Also, missing makes for drama, and storytelling opportunities.

    "OOH you miss, swinging wildly your blade clatters off the opponents armor"
    "You miss! caught slightly off balance your blade arcs over the head of the Minotaur who lets out a howl of what might be laughter"

    "oooh you hit for 10 damage... again."
    "you hit slightly less hard for 7 damage"
    "Oh hey critical! you do 22 damage, the monster still has 200 health remaining"

    Archr5 on
  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    "Hit" and "Miss" are also triggers for certain powers and abilities, particularly in D&D 4.0

    Finding ways to work together to increase the chance of hitting is an important part of the game as well.

    I like it the way it is.

    Reward has less value without disappointment.

    Horseshoe on
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar Audio Game Developer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    While it was a skill challenge check, it still applies:

    We had the most Athletic character in the group roll a 1 to, well, push a whale. Being a twisted DM, I turned this into a horrible horrible joke, and everyone laughed and made jolly at the poor elf who rolled it. On his next turn, it was announced, "This is your chance for redemption!"

    And with his next roll, he won the skill challenge, and the party's first magical weapon, and there was redemption.

    It wouldn't have been nearly as sweet a moment without that epic fail just before.

    Incenjucar on
  • Goose!Goose! That's me, honey Show me the way home, honeyRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    But we'll still never lethim live that crit failure down.

    Goose! on
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  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Not to mention that getting stabbed regularly every six seconds is a bit of a stretch in terms of narration.

    Der Waffle Mous on
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  • ArdentArdent Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    If you'd like more random, simply make the 10 from defense a d20 roll, as it essentially functions a "take 10"on defense checks now. This of course completely blows the the "all things being equal 50% chance" function of the hit vs defense mechanic out the window, but hey, it's your game, right?

    If your group gets quick enough you can narrate an entire combat in under 15 minutes...which is by far the coolest way to accomplish combat because at the end everyone lets out their collectively held breath and there's a Neo-in-the-Matrix-like "Whoa" moment as they all realize there is no spoon. Plus it leaves way more time for the real purposes of D&D (nacht!): role-playing and facilitation of alcoholism.

    Ardent on
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